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Rekindling the Flame of Religious Freedom this Shabbat Hanukkah

Rekindling the Flame of Religious Freedom this Shabbat Hanukkah

three tea lights and text reading: rekindle the flame of religious freedom this Shabbat Hanukkah

As Jews around the world gather this week around their menorahs, latkes and dreidels, we celebrate Hanukkah's story of how one small but mighty group of determined individuals battled for their religious freedom rights, and won. It is with this beautiful story in our minds that we condemn in the strongest terms any rhetoric aimed at our Muslim friends and community members.

Shabbat Hanukkah provides us with a unique opportunity to shed light on xenophobia where it continues to darken our society and our world, to commit to keeping the flame of pluralism, respect and justice burning bright.

We have crafted the following resources for congregations, families and individuals to imbue their Hanukkah and Shabbat observances with attention to these issues, and to take action to ensure that the United States accepts as many refugees as possible, regardless of their national, religious or ethnic backgrounds.

Light an additional Shabbat candle this week to shine a light on the importance of eradicating religious intolerance and replacing it with religious freedom.

Check out our guide on Muslim-Jewish dialogue to foster interfaith dialogue and deepened community engagement.

In recent weeks, some Members of Congress and public figures have used troubling rhetoric that has contributed to a hostile environment for Syrian refugees seeking a safe haven in the U.S. Calls to impose new limits on Syrian refugees, to impose a religious test on refugees or to close our doors altogether ignore the reality that the lengthy and rigorous vetting of refugee applications helps ensure our national security while upholding our historic role as a place of refuge. Now, more than ever, it is important that the Jewish community stand up against religious bigotry, reject divisive and inflammatory statements and show our support for those fleeing persecution. Take action to ensure that the United States resettlement program remains open to people of all religious backgrounds. Take action today!

May all people on this earth know peace and have the right to live freely and fully by the teachings of their faith this Hanukkah and in this holiday season.


Sarah Greenberg is the Assistant Legislative Director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where she was an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant in 2013-2014. Sarah graduated in 2013 from Cornell University, and is originally from New York City.

Sarah Greenberg